BRITISH GRAND PRIX 10/7/16
1st: Lewis Hamilton
2nd: Max Verstappen
3rd: Nico Rosberg
4th: Daniel Ricciardo
Hamilton led every lap, taking a 4th Silverstone win – which puts him alongside Nigel Mansell in the record books. He is also the only driver to have won here 3 times in a row, although Jim Clark won 4 in a row during the 1960s when the British Grand Prix alternated between Brands Hatch, Aintree and Silverstone. He is now just one point behind Rosberg in the championship – who was given a 10 second post-race time penalty for receiving illegal coaching over the radio.
He celebrated by crowdsurfing the home fans, glowing: “On this day, we come together and it is a beautiful thing.”
True to form, the British weather offered up rain; a heavy downpour 15 minutes before the race had left the track drenched. The race began behind the safety car – only starting properly after 5 laps. Following the withdrawal of the safety car there came a flurry of pit stops as drivers swapped ‘extreme’ wet tyres for intermediates.
According to the BBC Hamilton produced one of the ‘great opening laps of all time’. By Luffield, he was already 3 seconds in the lead and by the end of the lap he was 3.7 seconds ahead. Striding out to 5 seconds up after 5 racing laps.
Navigating Copse, Maggots and Becketts – the fastest corners in the second sector – Hamilton was in his element.
Toto Wolff: ” Lewis stormed away at the beginning…and had the right pace and walked over the water. On a day like this Lewis Hamilton is unstoppable.”
He had an almost faultless weekend – fastest in all 3 practice sessions and 2 out of 3 of the 3 qualifying. However his Mercedes team mate’s run of poor luck continued. With 5 laps to go – Rosberg had to reset systems in his car – receiving advice over the radio that was in breach of F1 rules.
“It was a very critical problem because I was stuck in seventh gear and about to stop on the track.” (Rosberg)
The wet track proved most troublesome at Abbey Corner, where Hamilton and Verstappen (among others) slid on a wet patch on entry to the corner- but managed to continue without damage.
Raikkonen had a ‘wild race’ – he lost control at Abbey 3 times – but still managed to take 5th place. Vettel finished 9th, he also spun at Abbey and received a 5 second time penalty for forcing Massa off the track while overtaking him. His disgruntled response was:
“I don’t think it was necessary. It’s not like I was purpsefully trying to squeeze him out… I just lost the rear.”
Lap 16 saw Verstappen pass Rosberg (with a new fastest lap of 1:51.3), pulling off one of the overtakes of the season with a brave pass around the outside at Becketts and receiving a big cheer from the crowd. Rosberg then chased him and by lap 30 was on his tail. At Lap 38 he eventually managed to pass him around the outside of Stowe Corner. The 10 second penalty ultimately gave 2nd place to Verstappen though.
Verstappen is now 6th in the championship, He gave a highly skilled defence against a faster, more powerful car for 10 laps.
Toto Wolff: ” His race craft is spectacular.”
Daniel Ricciardo was out on his own for much of the race. The virtual safety car came out to slow the race in Lap 7, allowing the top 3 drivers to stop for a tyre change when racing was restricted. Ricciardo had already pitted for Intermediates in Lap 6 – putting a gap of 10 seconds between him and Hamilton, Rosberg and Verstappen.
“Hard fought? Not really. I thought it was boring.” Was how Ricciardo described his lonely race.
5th: Kimi Raikkonen
6th: Sergio Perez
7th: Nico Hulkenberg
8th: Carlo Sainz Jnr
9th : Sebastian Vettel
10th: Daniil Kvyat
11th: Fernando Alonso
12th: Jenson Button
The track at Silverstone exposed the weaknesses in Ferrari’s car, especially the issue with downforce and this weekend was far from satisfactory for them. Vettel was particularly critical of the Pirelli ‘extreme’ wet tyre saying that he would,
“Rather take a lot of risk going on to the intermediates where there was a lot of aquaplaning in the beginning simply because it was a quicker tyre.”
Adding that this weekend had been “a step back for us (Ferrari) in terms of competitiveness.”
We’re at the halfway (ish) point of the Formula 1 season now… A lot has happened. Much still to come…. Next trip – Budapest!